In the dead of winter, as New York City was getting hit with Nor'easter after Nor'easter, as New Yorkers crammed into the deteriorating subway system in puffer coats every morning to get to their jobs in fluorescent lit offices, as grey colored the sky and S.A.D. gripped our souls... the L.A. Tourism Board did a little ad buy.
Their campaign taunted subway commuters throughout the system, showing smug Angelenos hiking in the sunshine, dressed in shorts and t-shirts, with the words "The Morning Commute" emblazoned over them. This was a clear attack on our strained, mid-winter psyches. And people say New Yorkers are rude?
I contacted the liars behind the ad, explaining that most New Yorkers commute to work via the broken down, dirty, crowded, soul-crushing, spirit-breaking subway system, and asked, "Why would you try to further break our spirits with this sunny advertisement showing an out-of-reach alternative?"
John Boudouvas, Vice President of Brand Marketing for Discover Los Angeles, replied that at least NYC "commuters [get] to see a Pacific sunset after work," and there are "more than 300 sunny days per year and near perfect temps of 72 degrees" in L.A. (There is no universal "perfect temp," btw.) Boudouvas went on to say that "the least we can do for our chilly friends in New York is provide some inspiration," adding, "Come on out and visit us! The subway will be there when you return."
It's true, no matter what we do, no matter how many times it has made us cry, no matter how much daily grief it causes us, no matter how far we run away from it, the goddamn subway will still be there when we return.
"Was running this ad during the winter months a way of twisting the knife?" I asked. But they claim they just wanted to inspire New Yorkers. To hate the L.A. Tourism Board? It worked.
Anyway, at least our subway seating isn't carpeted. But more to the point: this ad is a classic Hollywood lie. Angelenos commute to work via gas-guzzling automobiles, sometimes only managing 15 miles in hours. But sure, maybe before languishing in soul-crushing traffic they go on hikes up dusty hills with no shade, breathing that sweet pollution they contribute to on a daily basis. Give me signal problems on the F any day.